Lakemoor village officials have taken a significant step toward construction of a municipal campus with the purchase of open land fronting Route 120.
Village officials on Thursday approved a real estate contract to buy 3.2 acres on the south side of Route 120 north of Schlesser Drive in the Pines of Lakemoor subdivision for $640,000 -- or $200,000 an acre.
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The investment comes just weeks after the vacant former village hall, originally a fire station in the center of the community farther west on Route 120 facing Lily Lake, was demolished.
Village administrative offices in May 2012 were moved from the outdated, deteriorating building to a small leased space nearby with the expectation there someday would be a permanent home.
"We've been planning for many years and it's an exciting time because we're starting to see the plans implemented," village Administrator David Alarcon said.
A needs analysis performed for the village suggested three possible locations for a new facility including the former village hall site. But the property owned by David Krueger was determined to be best in terms of size and potential use, according to Matt Dabrowski, the village's director of community and economic development.
"One of the reasons the board chose this site was because it gave us more flexibility," he said. Another is location, as the village continues to aggressively push for development to the east of Darrell Road.
"Route 120 is the corridor that runs through the village and we want a presence on that street," Dabrowski said.
Whether the police department, which is based a few miles away near Route 12, will be part of the campus is to be determined.
The parcel had been part of a 6.3-acre piece known as the Pines of Lakemoor Commercial Addition.
Per village requirements, the land needed to be divided into two lots, an action approved this week by the village's planning and zoning commission.
The village bought the eastern half of the lot. The western portion remains privately owned and available for commercial development, although the village has a 10-year option that can be extended to buy the property except for the portion that includes the Krueger home.
Three residents appeared at the planning and zoning commission with questions about stormwater, access to the site, and its appropriateness for use as a village hall.
Dabrowski said the stormwater management will be evaluated and a parking and traffic study done to determine the location of a driveway and potential impacts to adjacent properties.
It also will be in the thick of things in the future as the bulk of commercial development is expected to be on the eastern portion of Route 120.
The next steps are to determine how the building will be used and create a design. Village officials have said they want it be considered as a community center rather than an office building for government.